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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Planck leads cross country at NCAA Midwest Regional

DeKALB – Led by graduate student runner Emma Planck, all four NIU cross-country participants finished within the top-175 in the 6-kilometer run at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Saturday. The Huskies failed to achieve a team score. 

“I’m happy with the effort from the four runners that raced today,” said NIU cross country head coach Juan Carillo via an NIU Athletics Press Release. “They raced to where their fitness is, so I was happy to see that. They were tough, they pushed when they needed to push, Joy (Jackson) did a great job of passing a lot of people during the race. Overall, I’m happy. We didn’t have a team score, but next year we will have a goal to bring five or seven to get a team score, but it was a good effort.” 

Just four out of nine NIU cross-country racers participated in Saturday’s contest. 

Planck was the only Huskie to secure a spot in the top 150, finishing with a time of 22:54.6 and claiming the 136th spot in the competition.

Finishing outside of the top-150 was fifth-year runner Katelyn Robbins. Robbins snagged the 163rd spot in the competition with a finishing time of 23:24.2. 

Robbins finished five spots and 7 seconds ahead of teammate junior Joy Jackson who sprinted to the 168th place with a time of 23:31.2.

After setting a new personal record in the 6-kilometer run at the MAC Championship on Oct. 28, senior Julia Finegan was the fourth and final Huskie to cross the finish line on Friday. Finegan took the 171st spot in the competition with a 23:32.7 completion time. 


Tournament host Oklahoma State University scored 30 points en route to a first-place team finish. OSU had three runners finish within the top five.

OSU sophomore Billah Jepkirui outpaced the 228 other participants with a 20:28.4 finish to take home first-place honors. 

OSU teammate, graduate student runner Taylor Roe, finished 0.7 seconds after Jepkirui with a time of 20:29.1 to reach second place at Saturday’s race. 

University of Kansas senior distance runner Lona Latema secured third place with a finishing time of 20:31.2. Latema was the only Jayhawk representative to finish within the top 50 in the 6-kilometer race. 


The conclusion of the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Saturday signaled the end of the 2023 women’s cross-country season.

Distance runners will take less than a month’s hiatus before the indoor track season starts with the Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational on Dec. 1.

“We started to build a culture,” Carillo said in the press release. “We want to get back to being a contender at the MAC and a team that brings seven people to regionals every year. I think that mindset has changed, we just need to continue to bring people in that believe in that vision. It takes time but I’m confident we will get there; we just have to be patient.”

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